my favorite recipes of 2009

my favorite recipes of 2009

here are 16 of my favorite recipes from 2009. i am pretty sure i could have easily chosen them all, but here are the top recipes in my book. in no particular order...

chocolate raspberry layer cake with chocolate ganache frosting

chocolate raspberry layer cake with chocolate ganache frostingi love making layer cakes. this cake was not only fun to make it was amazing. the raspberry in-between the layers of chocolate - amazing.

orzo with roasted vegetables

orzo with roasted vegetablesi am not joking when i tell you i have made this probably 20 times this year. it is a perfect dish. everyone can find something they love about it. i made it for christmas this year and it was a hit with all the carnivores.

monkey bread

monkey breadahhh...monkey bread. i am pretty sure i could force myself to eat this everyday for breakfast without a problem. it is ooey and gooey and perfect. i was really surprised when i made it the first time. i thought it would be too sweet - but it certainly wasn't.

herb & spice roasted vegetables with red wine & mushroom gravy

herb & spice roasted vegetables with red wine & mushroom gravythis is known as "thanksgiving dinner" at our house. this dish single-handedly took away all my fears about becoming a vegetarian. this recipe proved to me you could still have a hearty and comforting meal without meat. i make it every year for thanksgiving and whenever alex asks for it (which is often).

roasted potato leek soup

roasted potato leek soupi already had a potato leek soup recipe that i loved, but when i saw Ina make this i knew i would be adding a second. roasting the potatoes and leeks transforms this well loved soup into something totally new. the addition of arugula makes it even better because it is better for you.

vodka penne - penne alla vodka

vodka penne - penne alla vodkathe dish i like to say i am famous for. i have made this so many times i have lost count. i have entertained friends, family and clients with this perfect pasta. it is a winner every single time.

buttermilk chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream

buttermilk chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercreami chose these because they brought me a ton of happiness this year. i got to make them for a wedding shower for my wonderful new sister-in-law. i also made them to donate to the Big Brothers Big Sisters bake sale. it is really great when you get to do something you love to do for a good cause and to celebrate important milestones in people's lives. and they are really darn good cupcakes!

roasted vegetable ragu

 roasted vegetable raguthis recipe came out of the sad realization that i could no longer make my really wonderful ragu anymore since i stopped eating meat. i was almost in tears every time i thought about it until i made this. again, it goes to show you absolutely can create those comfort food moments without meat.

bell pepper and olive pasta

bell pepper and olive pastai heart Deborah Madison. she gives us vegetarians really stunning recipes. this pasta is so simple but so complex in flavor. it is really is a wonderful dish of pasta. i just made it for two of my dearest friends a couple weeks ago and got to remember how really special it is.

lemon poppy seed pancakes

lemon poppy seed pancakesi love breakfast for dinner. it just feels fun and special, to do something out of the ordinary. when i do breakfast for dinner it is almost always pancakes. these pancakes are not only incredible -  they were featured on glamour.com!

black bean tacos with feta and cabbage slaw

 black bean tacos with feta and cabbage slawwhen i first came across this recipe i scrunched up my face and flipped past. it sounded like the strangest combination of ingredients ever. but there was something about it that wouldn't allow me to ignore it. i am really glad i took the risk because it was definitely one of the best dinners i made this year. amazing flavor combination!

cheesy baked artichoke dip

 cheesy baked artichoke dipmy quest for the perfect artichoke dip came to a wonderful end this year. i think i have tested that recipe more than any other. this is the perfect artichoke dip - i promise. best of all it was featured on Saveur.com Best of the Web.

crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies

crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies i get an amazing amount of inspiration from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. she always makes mouthwatering food. these cookies are truly mouthwatering. the sprinkle of fleur de sel on top makes them memorable.

tortellini salad with cranberries pecans and feta

tortellini salad with cranberries pecans and fetathis salad was a hit this year and i owe it all to alex's mom. who would have thought pasta and lettuce could team up so well.

garlicy hummus

garlicy hummushummus was one of those foods i convinced myself i didn't like without ever having tried it. i am so glad i gave it a chance. i am addicted to the stuff now. try these baked pita chips with it.

vanilla bean rice pudding

vanilla bean rice puddingit was a year of firsts food wise for me. i had never eaten a spoonful of rice pudding until this year. i was really missing out. i always look forward to reading Molly Wizenberg's column in Bon Appetit. i love her recipes and her writing is so easy to enjoy. this recipe is from her column and is simply wonderful.

i thought i would also include the 10 most popular recipes on picky cook for 2009. in order of popularity...

1. molten chocolate cakes with raspberry coulis
2. raspberry white chocolate scones
3. monkey bread
4. caramel peanut topped brownie cake
5. parmesan pull-apart rolls
6. cheesy baked artichoke dip
7. sprinkles strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting
8. roasted potato leek soup
9. soft pretzels
10. lemon curd desserts

thanks to all of you for a wonderful 2009. your support make this so much fun.
here is to a wonderful 2010 - cheers!
- kristin

p.s. in case you are interested here are my favorite recipes from 2008

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appetizers and snacksbaked pita chips
baked pita chipsi really loved the spice blend of garlic, onion and herbs. it was just the right flavor and did not overwhelm or get in the way of the hummus.
black bean zucchini and tomato quesadillas
black bean zucchini and tomato quesadillasthese black bean, zucchini and tomato quesadillas are wonderful. alex's mom made these for us a couple months back and we fell in love. the recipe was actually from weight watchers - the point system thing. i was surprised at how good it was given it was a "diet" recipe. Read More
cheese straws
when i saw the great one make these, i knew they would go into the "need to make this" line up and probably go straight to the top. cheese straws with puff pastry...oh so good. (sorry no pictures...yet) Read More
cheesy baked artichoke dip
cheesy baked artichoke dipi have tried several recipes for artichoke dip that really sucked. too dry - to heavy - not enough flavor - i have covered them all. but this recipe is the last artichoke dip recipe i will ever need. it is similar to the Loring recipe - dare i say - it might be even better.

the combination of the sour cream and the mayo make for a wonderfully creamy but not too heavy filling and the crisp baked cheese on top with the paprika is smoky and lovely. the best part is you can reheat it the next day and it is just as good. Read More
fingerling potatoes with garlic lemon aioli
 fingerling potatoes with garlic lemon aiolihow can you go wrong with potatoes and a garlicy lemon aioli? simply put - you can't. i make this for an appetizer and sometimes alex and i even have it for dinner with a green salad. they are addictive beyond your wildest imagination!
garlicy hummus
garlicy hummusthis hummus is garlicy, smoky and bright. the cumin and paprika play together very well, the garlic is prominent - but not overpowering. the lemon - as usual - brightens it up beatifully. the texture was creamy but not baby food. i definately recommend drizzling the top with a bit of the extra virgin olive oil. Read More
vegetable gyoza
these vegetable gyoza take some time to assemble - but this recipe makes a lot (about 40) and we froze the majority so they are ready to make when we want more.

the flavor was great - but i think i got tired near the end because i should have steamed them longer - some were a little chewy. but all in all - they were excellent and worth the labor. Read More
breadlemon brioche rolls
lemon brioche rollsthis broiche dough is nice - it is eggy and buttery. these rolls are a good balance of lemon and brioche. i would make them again. i would definately add an egg wash to the tops before baking to crisp up the exteriror a bit more and i would take the time to make the lemon curd. might as well do it right! Read More
monkey bread
monkey breadi wasn't sure that to think of monkey bread - honestly i had never of it before and because there were no photographs with the recipe i wasn't sure what to expect. it is one of my favorite things i have ever made! i have since seen other monkey bread recipes that use pre-made dough - don't do this! spend the time to make this dough. it is buttery and perfect. i don't think i even need to address rolling the dough in cinnamon, sugar and butter as that is never a bad thing and the simple glaze is the perfect "frosting" for the bread. it is amazing - you need to make this monkey bread. Read More
parmesan pull-apart rolls
parmesan pull-apart rolls when i went to check on my parmesan pull-aparts halfway through the baking time- i opened the oven door a crack and was nearly knocked over by the incredible smell. i wish there was a way to make a scratch-n-sniff sticker to put on this recipe. the yeast and the parmesan - oh dear - it was incredible.

the results were equally as divine. the smell was amazing - the texture was perfect - and the thin layer of crust was perfect. Read More
soft pretzels
soft pretzelsi am a bit at a loss for words to describe these little chubby soft pretzels. amazing ... wonderful ... perfect ...heavenly ... they all kind of work but don't quite encompass how completely ridiculous these little guys are. yea they take some time and love but my god are they astonishing! the outside gets crispy and brown and the inside is perfectly chewy. i will never be able to eat another ball park pretzel again. these are in a whole other league. Read More
breakfast and brunchbanana sour cream pancakes
banana sour cream pancakesi LOVE these banana sour cream pancakes. we have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. even alex, who isn't a big pancake person, loves them.
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berry mascarpone pancakes
berry mascarpone pancakesthese pancakes are so light and fluffy they almost don't seem like pancakes. the mascarpone provides the soft texture that makes these pancakes different than any other. i add lemon zest to the batter which i find enhances the berries. the original recipe says to add copped berries to the pancakes halfway through the cooking - but i found that it didn't work very well - the berries overwhelmed the texture. i find them to be best served with a berry syrup (i use blueberry) and then sprinkled with some lovely fresh berries (i use raspberries or blackberries). Read More
blackberry peach crumb topped muffins
blackberry peach crumb topped muffinsthese blackberry peach muffins remind me of those at the coffee shop but better. the muffin is moist, thanks to the milk and sour cream. the crumb topping gives the muffin the texture it needs. the lemon zest brightens up the fruit. all in all - this is one excellent muffin. blackberry and peach is definitely my new favorite fruit combination. Read More
buttermilk berry muffins
buttermilk berry muffinsthese buttermilk raspberry muffins are moist and full of fruit. the orange zest brings the raspberry flavor to life. you could easily substitute blueberries, blackberries or strawberries - or better yet - use all of the berries for a mixed berry muffin! Read More
carrot cake pancakes with cinnamon honey butter
carrot cake pancakes with cinnamon honey butterthese carrot cake pancakes - oh dear god - they will blow your mind! when i first saw the recipe i knew i had to try it because of alex's great love of carrot cake but i honestly wasn't expecting much. i was blown away. all the spices, orange zest and carrots provide the sweet & spicy flavors that make these pancakes of another world. toasted walnuts and the grated carrots provide wonderful texture to the light and fluffy pancakes. the cinnamon honey butter to slather on top was equally incredible.  these would be perfect for breakfast for dinner or a lazy weekend breakfast.  Read More
cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese frosting
cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese frostingi don't even want to hear about how long these cinnamon rolls take to make ... THEY ARE SOOO WORTH IT! Read More
french toast
french toastthis is another staple that you must make for breakfast. it turns up the volume on french toast. Read More
lemon poppy seed muffins with lemon glaze
lemon poppy seed muffins with lemon glazethese muffins are spring in a muffin cup! i increased the amount of lemon zest and the intensity was perfect. the tiny little specks of blue from the poppy seeds and the vivid yellow flecks of lemon zest are too much to handle - so pretty. These lemon poppy seed muffins are incredibly moist and the lemon glaze is the right amount of sweetness to top them off. Read More
lemon poppy seed pancakes
 lemon poppy seed pancakesif you have read picky cook for any amount of time you will know my love of lemon. i know it may seem like a lot of zest in this recipe but trust me - it is perfect. the lemon flavor is strong but not over powering. the poppy seeds are like little surprising pops in your mouth. the pancakes are moist and thick - just the way i like them. i served these lemon poppy seed pancakes with macerated berries (any mix of berries would work). just add a bit of sugar to the berries and let them sit at room temp while you make the pancakes. Read More
meyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones
vmeyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones i first saw this recipe over at smitten kitchen. i was at first taken aback by the fresh cranberries and figured i would use dried - but at the grocery store i decided to take Deb's advice and use the fresh. i am so glad i did! this was my first baking experience with fresh cranberry and it did not disappoint. as a matter of fact - the fresh cranberries MADE these scones. Read More
my favorite buttermilk pancakes
my favorite buttermilk pancakesthese buttermilk pancakes are a staple for weekend mornings in our house. the recipe is even better if you make them on a well seasoned cast iron griddle. Read More
pear and granola muffins
pear and granola muffinsalex loves pears - he feels about pears the way i do about pumpkin. so when i saw this recipe i knew it had to be made. it needed a few tweaks, but they are excellent. Read More
this a hearty breakfast on a cold winter morning. it is a staple around our house for football sunday. it keeps will in the fridge and heats well in the microwave. Read More
pumpkin muffins
pumpkin muffinsthis pumpkin muffin recipe is one of those staples - a must have for every baker. it is quick and easy and i would bet you always have the ingredients on hand. they are moist and wonderfully spicy. i added more cinnamon because i am a certifiable cinnamon lover. i also changed the amount of sugar and type of sugar. i have recently been adding dark brown sugar to recipes when i can. i love the deep flavor it helps to bring to recipes. Read More
pumpkin scones
pumpkin sconesi love anything pumpkin and i searched for a long while for the perfect scone recipe. i think this is it. Read More
raspberry crumb cake
raspberry crumb cakethe great one (ina garten) does it again. be really careful not to overbake. it happens quickly!
raspberry lemon muffins
raspberry lemon muffinsthe muffins themselves were nice - not too sweet and a hint of vanilla. the lemon flavor came through loud and clear. biting into a whole raspberry was a fun little surprise. i had thought of breaking them up and swirling them through the batter - but i am glad i left them whole. the only thing i would do differently is take them out a bit sooner - they got a little dry on me. Read More
raspberry syrup
raspberry syrupdefinitely the simplest recipe on the site - and it is yummy Read More
raspberry white chocolate scones
raspberry white chocolate sconesi decided this year i would make all my christmas presents. i made these for my brother's fiance. i used more berries than the recipe called for. they seemed fine when they went into the oven - i would even argue they looked damn good. i checked on them halfway through time - and oh my - it was not good. because i used too many berries - they started to "slide" over and just didn't look that great. even though they didn't look perfect - they tasted wonderful (thank god). alex now refers to these scones as "busted scones" - so without further ado - i give you busted scones a la picky cook. Read More
steel cut oatmeala simple yet hearty recipe. it practically makes itself.whole grain pancakes with blueberry maple syrup
whole grain pancakes with blueberry maple syrupthese whole grain pancakes are a meal you can feel good about eating thanks to the whole grains. they are a thinner pancake but they are light and fluffy. i was worried about the texture because of the whole wheat flour so i substituted a half cup of all purpose flour. i also added cinnamon because i just love that spice in pancakes. the highlight of the meal was the blueberry maple syrup. the blueberry flavor is bright and vivid and the maple syrup gives it that familiar flavor. Read More
dessertangel food cake with chocolate whipped cream icing
angel food cake with chocolate whipped cream icing it is hard to find the correct words to describe the texture of homemade angel food cake vs store bought. it is a lightly spongy texture. it is more delicate than any i have purchased. it is also more white - it really does look like a cloud. the light vanilla flavor is present but not overwhelming. i am glad i chose this icing. it was light and had good chocolate flavor. the berries gave a bit of sweetness that made this a perfect dessert in my opinion. Read More
apple pear and raspberry crumble
apple pear and raspberry crumblemy go-to crumble combination is this pear, apple and raspberry one. i always use the same recipe - adapted from the great one - it is the best topping for a crumble i have ever eaten. i believe i have perfected the spices to perfectly enhance the fruit. the apples and pears go so well together and the raspberries give a bit of tartness and color that makes it so very pretty. crumbles are easy to make and everyone loves them. Read More
apple puff pastry squares
apple puff pastry squaresan easy bite size take on a classic apple tart  Read More
apple raspberry pie
apple raspberry pie i love fruit desserts - particularly the combination of apple and raspberries. the raspberries add a nice depth of flavor and a beautiful color. if you haven't tried to do a lattice top to a pie - you must. it is a "ooo" and "ahhh" maker.

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berry marscapone cupcakes
 berry mascarpone cupcakesthese cupcakes are a crowd pleaser. they are simple, perfectly moist and so good. i added some sugar decorations to the tops to pretty them up even more. Read More
blood orange yogurt cake
blood orange yogurt cakethis cake is incredibly moist. the blood orange zest is not as potent as regular orange zest - so if you want a more potent flavor i would recommend adding the zest of a regular orange to the mix. i happened to like the more delicate flavor of the blood orange zest. the syrup adds a bit of sweetness and moisture to the cake and the glaze - well - its gorgeous. Read More
brownie roll-out cookies
 brownie roll-out cookies these cookies are amazing! the are moist just like a brownie - but still has the essence of a sugar cookie. i decided to add some instant espresso powder to the dough and it was wonderful - it enhanced the chocolate flavor while not overwhelming. i would definitely recommend this addition. i would make these cookies over and over again. alex is still talking about them.
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buttermilk chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream
buttermilk chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream i am not a huge fan of chocolate - i like it but don't love it but these cupcakes have converted me to a chocolate lover. my biggest complaint with chocolate desserts is the chocolate is never vibrant enough for me. to bring out the chocolate flavor more - i always add espresso to any chocolate dessert i make and this recipe, with its large addition of espresso, is simply amazing.

the cupcakes are so moist and chocolaty and the vanilla bean buttercream is the perfect frosting. there is nothing more classic than a really great chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. both of these recipes take that classic cupcake to a whole new level. you will never look at another chocolate cupcake the same way again. Read More
cakesall the cake recipes on picky cook Read More
caramel peanut topped brownie cake
caramel peanut topped brownie cakeif you like chocolate, peanuts and caramel this is the cake for you Read More
carrot cake cupcakes with vanilla mascarpone frosting
 carrot cake cupcakes with vanilla mascarpone frostingthis carrot cake recipe is alex's absolute favorite. i made it into cupcakes for a change of pace. Read More
carrot cake sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting filling
carrot cake sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting fillingthese carrot cake cookies almost converted me from a pumpkin lover to a carrot cake lover. yes, they are that good. the cookie itself is soft and moist - yet strong enough to hold up as a sandwich cookie. i added more spice to the mix because that is how i roll. i think it is a major improvement over the original recipe. i usually could leave the frosting out of the equation but in this case - the frosting makes these cookies. the cookie itself is not very sweet and the creamy sweetness of the cream cheese frosting balances out the cookie with the perfect amount of sweetness to compliment the spices in the cookie. these carrot cake cookies would be the perfect picnic or backyard barbecue dessert. Read More
chocolate fondue
 our chocolate fonduethis chocolate fondue is silky and smooth. the espresso and vanilla enhance the chocolate so well i can't imagine not using these two flavors in it. there are so many things you can serve with fondue but our favorites are strawberries, pound cake, pineapple and bananas. this is the perfect easy to make yet very special dessert. i hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Read More
chocolate raspberry layer cake with chocolate ganache frosting
chocolate raspberry layer cake with chocolate ganache frostinglayer cakes are a bit time consuming but oh my this one is worth it! the chocolate cake is so moist and it really tastes like chocolate. the raspberry filling is pucker-up tart which is perfect between the cake layers. it really does help cut the sweetness. it seeps into the cake layers so the chocolate and raspberry flavor become unified. i also loved the ganache frosting - it is a light layer of chocolate that is tasty but most of all it is beautiful. Read More
chocolate white chocolate biscotti
chocolate white chocolate biscottithese biscotti came dangerously close to what i wanted. the chocolate flavor was intense - the white chocolate chunks added some good texture - but the raspberry flavor didn't come through as much as i had hoped. the addition of the espresso powder was good- it really enhanced the chocolate. all in all - these biscotti are amazing - and so close to what i hoped they would be.

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chunky peanut butter cookies
chunky peanut butter cookiesi had a crazy craving for peanut butter cookies - but there is a catch, they must contain actual peanuts.  Read More
cinnamon crumble apple pie
cinnamon crumble apple piethis pie is the best of two world - good ole fashioned apple pie and apple crumble. i have used many different kinds of apples in this pie but my go-to is granny smith. it is a good tart apple that holds up well when baked. the next time i make it i am going to do a mixed apple version.
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cookiesall the cookie recipes on picky cook
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cranberry bars
cranberry barsthe crust is really amazing - it is a lot like shortbread. a perfect base for the cranberry "jelly". i changed some things with the cranberry layer. first of all i added some raspberry jam, i love the combination on cranberry and raspberry. i also decided to add some lemon zest to help perk up the flavor a bit. the changes worked really well and the bars were a hit. i think my favorite part - the red color. it is so vivid and beautiful. Read More
crispy chocolate toffee oatmeal cookies
crispy chocolate toffee oatmeal cookiesi love the idea of using rice krispies in a cookie. i have adapted the recipe a bit by adding toffee and cinnamon but i think the rice krispies are what make them special. the cookie itself is crisp but the middle is still chewy. the toffee melts the perfect amount to be chewy but still hold that toffee texture i love. ever since i made crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies i have been adding a sprinkling of fleur de sel to the tops of most cookies i make. i love the slightly salty bit it gives.  Read More
crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies
crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookiesthese cookies are INCREDIBLE! i am not exaggerating - they are perfection. the crispy cookie and the white chocolate would be amazing on their own but the addition of the sea salt - oh my! the salty crunch on top makes these cookies one of the best i have ever made.Session data
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cupcake recipesall the cupcake recipes on picky cook Read More
flourless monster cookies
flourless monster cookiesthese cookies were a highlight of the last couple weeks. i made them twice this month. yes - twice - and i am not ashamed to admit that.

they are amazing - quite possibly the greatest and most wonderful cookies i have ever baked. there is something for everyone. there is no flour so that makes "flour haters" happy. there are peanut butter chips and chunky peanut butter - but wait it gets better - there is chocolate too! there are oats for the "good for you" crowd and toffee bits because my honey loves toffee. these monster cookies are thick & chewy perfection. seriously - greatest cookies ever. Read More
french apple tart
french apple tartthis french apple tart is perfection. not only does it taste beyond lovely - it is very very simple to make. not many ingredients go into making this and i think it is the simplicity that makes it so delicious. the flaky crust - the tender apples and the punch of the apriot preserves combine to be the most tender slice of tart you could hope for. top it with creme fraiche and it is complete. Read More
grapefruit bars
grapefruit "lemon" barsi printed out the lemon bar recipe from smitten kitchen a while back. i always intended on making it - but it always got passed over until i had the brilliant idea to make grapefruit "lemon" bars. i figured i would need to up the zest amount to get the grapefruit flavor, as i did with the grapefruit yogurt cake, and the grapefruit flavor did come through. i also left in some lemon zest for a little zing and i am glad i did. Read More
grapefruit yogurt cake
grapefruit yogurt cake i eat grapefruits (when the are in season) like they are going out of style. to me they are the perfect amount of tart and sweet. a while ago i made ina's lemon yogurt cake. it was delicious as usual. we had been getting a lot of blood oranges at the time and i thought that would be pretty killer to sub in for the lemons with a few adjustments. haven't tried it yet - but it is on the list. then i saw smitten kitchen did a grapefruit yogurt cake based on ina's recipe. needless to say - it had to
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honey roasted peanut butter and jelly bars
honey roasted peanut butter and jelly barsthese peanut butter and jelly bars fit the bill perfectly. not only are they simple to make - you can easily double the recipe for a large crowd. i need my peanut butter to be chunky - the smooth stuff just doesn't feel like peanut butter to me - so i substituted chunky for smooth. any kind of berry jam will work great and for those of you grape jelly fans - that would work as well. i added a bit on honey to the batter and honey roasted peanuts to the top because i think peanut butter and honey are naturals together. Read More
jam thumbprint cookies
jam thumbprint cookiesas i was paging through the December 2008 issue of gourmet and i came across an ad..."only at gourmet.com - gourmet's favorite cookies: 1941-2008 - the most amazing recipe from each year".
the coolest part about the feature is that they have them exactly as they were printed. the ones from the 40's are in one paragraph. no list of ingredients - no separate instructions - just one chunk of text. as annoying as it was when i was making the cookies - it was kinda cool at the same time.
i choose to start with the "jelly centers" as they called them. i call them jam thumbprints because that is how i have always known them. i have always enjoyed these and had to try the best cookie of 1948 had to offer. Read More
la palettes strawberry tart
 la palette's strawberry tart this strawberry tart is from dorie greenspan. it is weird yet wonderful. Read More
lemon curd desserts
lemon curd dessertsthis is perhaps the most perfect lemon curd recipe ever! the lemon flavor is intense and the texture is perfect. i have used it in so many ways and they are all wonderful. you can spread it on scones, make little tartlets and put a raspberry or blueberry in the middle, bake off a shortbread crust and best of all - just eat it plain.
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lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze
lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glazecalling these cookies is a little deceiving. they are more like little cake cookies. they have a crumb like a cake but they are the shape of a cookie. the lemon flavor needed to be punched up so i doubled the amount of zest and i am really glad i did. the lemon flavor was bright and vivid as it should be since it is really the only flavor in these cookies. there is no ricotta flavor rather it - i believe - is what creates the fabulous moist texture. the glaze adds the perfect amount of sweetness and is definitely needed because the cookies alone are not sweet enough. Read More
lime squares with pistachio graham cracker crust
lime squares with pistachio graham cracker crustthe crust on these bars in unbelievable! would it be wrong to just eat the crust?? Read More
madeleineswhenever i see madeleines - i buy them. i bought a madeleine pan and was terrified to make them. surprisingly - they are really easy. Read More
malted chocolate covered espresso bean cookies
malted chocolate covered espresso bean cookiesthese are very unique and interesting cookies. i made gale's malted chocolate chip cookies and absolutely loved them. i decided to try an alternate version of the cookies using chocolate covered espresso beans. i really loved this version - even more than the original version!
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malted guinness milk chocolate ice cream with whoppers
malted guinness milk chocolate ice cream with whoppersi am sure this recipe is fantastic without my additions but if you are a fan of malts, guinness, chocolate & whoppers you must try it with these additions. the espresso flavor isn't in the forefront rather it enhances the chocolate. the whoppers add the crunch and texture that makes this recipe reminiscent of ben & jerry's ice cream concoctions. it is simply wonderful. Read More
mixed apple pie
the mixed apple pie was probably one of my favorite pies i have made because each apple was so different - different flavor and texture. they combined perfectly. the all butter pastry crust was flaky and i had a lot of fun making up the top crust. i have done lattice - i have done full crust - i have done crumble topping. i wanted something special this time. i took the top crust and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter and overlapped the circles. it looked like a flower. i will be using that one again - it makes a traditional pie new again. Read More
molten chocolate cakes with raspberry coulis
molten chocolate cakes with raspberry coulisthis molten chocolate cake is everything you would expect it to be and then some. as i usually do, i added espresso powder to enhanced the chocolate flavor. it never fails, it ALWAYS makes chocolate better. when you open the cake up the molten chocolate pours out and mixes with the raspberry sauce - it is amazing. the best part is you can make these ahead of time - keep them in the fridge - and bake right before serving. tastes amazing and convient - what more could you ask for? Read More
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesthis is my staple cookie recipe. whenever cookies are needed - this is the go to recipe. these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are perfectly chewy and flavorful. the best part is how versitile they are - you can change-up the ingredients on a whim.  Read More
peach raspberry blackberry pie
peach raspberry blackberry pieit was every bit as lovely as i thought it would be. the meaty peaches were a nice texture against the soft and tangy berries. it reminded me of summer flavors which is a nice treat in the cold minnesota winter. i used a recipe i have for peach pie and just added the berries. the cinnamon was a nice spice with the fruit and i added a bit of lemon zest as well because berries taste just a little bit better with some lemon. Read More
pear apple raspberry turnovers
pear apple raspberry turnoversi have made these with just pear and apple...they were wonderful...but i love raspberries so i thought i would try. these turnovers are not only delicious - they are super easy to make.  Read More
pecan shortbread
pecan shortbreadthese cookies remind me of my childhood. we rarely had "sweets" in the house but every once in awhile we had pecan sandies. i loved those darn things and this recipe is wonderful. they are perfectly buttery and the almond extract is there but not overwhelming. i reduced the amount because i think it has a tendency to overpower. i upped the vanilla extract so they evened out. Read More
pumpkin cake with honey cream cheese frosting
pumpkin cake with honey cream cheese frostingif you love pumpkin the way i love pumpkin, you are gonna love this. this cake and frosting are excellent! Read More
pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting
pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frostingthe pumpkin cupcake itself was moist with an excellent crumb and had just the right spice. i was a bit freaked out by the addition of black pepper in the cupcake - but it added that extra spice that make these cupcakes a favorite of mine. the maple cream cheese frosting was the perfect finishing touch - not too sweet. i sprinkled the tops with a bit of cinnamon for decoration but it was a nice flavor addition as well. a vanilla buttercream would be equally wonderful but would probably up the sweet factor. Read More
pumpkin oatmeal cookies
pumpkin oatmeal cookiesthese pumpkin oatmeal cookies have officially taken over the top spot for me in the cookie department. not only do they really taste like pumpkin, they are perfectly spicy and the texture is soft and cakey. the oatmeal provides just the right amount of chewiness. i actually call them a breakfast cookie rather than a regular cookie because they are not sweet at all - so you don't feel guilty sneaking one ... two ... or three for breakfast! Read More
raspberry oatmeal bars
raspberry oatmeal barswhen i make these raspberry oatmeal squares they are gone almost immediately. once you have one - you just can't stop. the original recipe for these bars was great - but i made it better with adding fresh raspberries to the filling. now they are perfect!  Read More
red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frostingthe cupcakes are RED! bright, vivid and beautiful red. i have seen many red velvet cupcakes that look kinda red but really they were brown with a hint of red. not the case with these. the texture is lovely and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect companion to the little cakes. it provides just the right amount of tang and sweetness. Read More
sprinkles strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting
 sprinkles' strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frostingi have heard about the great Sprinkles' cupcakes but have never actually had one myself - but if they are anything like this recipe - i might have to move that trip higher up on my list. the strawberry flavor of these cupcakes is vivid and fresh. i am glad i upped the vanilla a bit and the addition of lemon zest gave them a nice brightness. i hope you enjoy.... Read More
sweet & salty cake
this cake met every expectation i had and then some. i used a different recipe for the cake because i have one i love and the baked recipe makes a three layer cake which i thought was overkill. i made everything else from the baked recipe. this was not an easy cake for me to make as i seem to be cursed when it comes to caramel but it was worth all the effort. the balance of the sweet & salty flavors is perfection. the cake itself is pure decadence but with fleur de sel and caramel it puts it into a whole other world.  Read More
the baked brownie with cream cheese swirl
i get why people love these brownies and i am sure they are equally fabulous on their own but i am telling you they are a little slice of heaven when marbled with a cream cheese swirl. i upped the amount of espresso powder and decreased the sugar by a bit because i do that in most recipes. both adaptations worked really well and i think they enhanced the deep chocolate flavor in these brownies. Read More
vanilla bean rice pudding
vanilla bean rice puddingvanilla bean rice pudding  is the ultimate comfort food! the vanilla flavor is obvious without being overwhelming and the pudding is so perfectly creamy you won't be able to stop eating it. the best part is - it is even better the next day. i served it with apple and pear compote although it is equally amazing on its own. Read More
vanilla cheesecake squares with minted berries
vanilla cheesecake squares with minted berriesthis is the easiest cheesecake recipe i have ever made. it comes out perfect and even yours truly couldn't mess it up. the crust is amazing - think a caramel crust with almonds. the cheesecake itself is smooth and decadent. i chose to use a mix of berries for the top rather than just blackberries because all the berries at the market looked lovely. i bought some peppermint sugar a little while ago and used that and lemon zest for maserating the berries. these minted berry cheesecake squares are perfection! Read More
vanilla cupcakes with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream
vanilla cupcakes with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercreamthese vanilla cupcakes with lemon curd filling were super easy to make, exactly what Jeff wanted and delicious. the cake itself was moist and the lemon curd filling worked more perfectly than i could have hoped! it was tart and had the right consistency for a cupcake filling. the buttercream was very good as well - not too sweet and a good vanilla flavor. i upped the amount of vanilla in the frosting and the cupcake and added vanilla bean seeds to the cupcake. i don't know about you but i want to see vanilla bean specks in vanilla desserts. Read More
vanilla layer cake with berries and whip cream
vanilla layer cake with berries and whip creami love that this cake uses whip cream as a frosting. i am not a big frosting fan but i love whipped cream. the whipped cream is light and not too sweet and the lightness is a perfect combination with the delicate berries and the vanilla cake. i added some lemon zest to the cake to boost the flavor and increased the vanilla a bit. between the layers of vanilla cake the combination of the berry whip cream and the macerated berries is perfect. you get the big flavors of the berries and the creaminess of the whip cream. a pretty darn good combination in my opinion. this cake is reminiscent of strawberry shortcake. Read More
vanilla pound cake
this recipe is adapted from dorie greenspan's book baking from my home to yours. its like the baking bible. i just added a bit more flavor. Read More
vanilla pudding
vanilla puddingthis is the best vanilla pudding i have ever eaten - i am not kidding! i serve it with shaved chocolate on the top. espresso flavored chocolate is killer on top. Read More
walnut tarts
walnut tartsthe shortbread crust is a perfect buttery container for the filling. the filling is not overly sweet - i would venture to say that it is more spicy than it is sweet. the original recipe called for aniseed which i am not a fan of - so i substituted cinnamon and a bit of apple pie spice. the result was wonderful - the cinnamon, orange zest and apple pie spice give these tarts a spicy warmth unmatched by pecan pie. the best part is the filling bubbles up in the oven and overflows to cover the pastry in a gooey caramel. Read More
main courseblack bean tacos with feta and cabbage slaw
black bean tacos with feta and cabbage slawall these flavors work so well together i can't believe i thought it would be strange. the cabbage dressed in the lime vinaigrette doesn't resemble coleslaw at all (i was worried about that) and the simmered black beans are hearty enough to be the "meat" in these tacos. the feta adds the right bit of sharpness to balance out every bite. i didn't use any hot sauce like the recipe suggests - my addition of the salsa removes the need for this. Read More
broccoli and cheddar cheese twice baked potatoes
broccoli and cheddar cheese twice baked potatoesi have had twice baked potatoes before and they run the risk of being kind of dry - but these are moist, luscious and creamy. the cheddar gives a good sharp bite, the broccoli makes you feel good about eating them and the half and half and sour cream are responsible for keeping them perfectly moist. i added lemon zest for a bit of extra flavor. i love the addition of lemon zest in mashed potatoes so i figured it would work here as well. Read More
edamame succotash
edamame succotashi had torn this recipe out of Vegetarian Times a while ago thinking that it sounded like a quick and easy week night dinner and it lived up to that expectation. there is nothing particularly unique or special about this dish. it is just a simple helping of protein and vegetables. it has bold flavor and the texture of the vegetables were great. i served it with some lemon pepper pasta.  Read More
grilled vegetable tostadas with black beans
grilled vegetable tostadas with black beansthese tostadas are really flavorful. the vegetables have excellent texture and have a bit of grill "char" that adds a lovely smokiness. the addition of the black beans simmered in salsa with a little bit of cumin is what makes this dish excellent. without it - i believe it would have been a bit blah. the avocado added a wonderful creamy texture to the crunchy vegetables. everything "played together" so well! i thought it sounded a little weird to add feta to this - but that tart bite on top was perfection. Read More
herb & spice roasted vegetables with red wine & mushroom gravy
herb & spice roasted vegetables with red wine & mushroom gravythe vegetables are bursting with big flavors from the spices and herbs. the variety of vegetables also keeps the dish lively. just when you thought you tasted every thing, another vegetable will surprise you. the gravy is as hearty as any meat based gravy i ever had. all in all is the perfect vegetarian hearty meal - it is soul food. Read More
open faced roasted vegetable sandwich
open faced roasted vegetable sandwich (roasted vegetable tartine)my vegetable sandwich is a total winner! the grilling of the bread gives the sandwich a wonderful crunchy base. the hummus or borsin cheese prevent the bread from getting soggy and also lends additional flavor. the roasted vegetables - well - they rock. they are not over done and actually have flavor. last but clearly not least - you can never so wrong with some really good cheese.
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roasted vegetable stuffed peppers
roasted vegetable stuffed peppersnot only are these peppers really good - they are really pretty with all the colors!
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soft polenta with baked veggies
soft polenta with baked veggiesi love polenta - it is versatile and if you make it right - really delicious. the veggies turn out so wonderfully - like a vegetable "gravy".
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soft polenta with grilled vegetables
soft polenta with grilled vegetablesthese grilled vegetables are flavored by a few simple ingredients - grill seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil. i also grill some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top of the dish. if you have never grilled a lemon - do so right now. the juices develop & the smoky flavor from the grill is amazing. the polenta is soft & creamy and flavored with garlic and shallots. i add a bit of cream and butter to the end to give it an extra bit of creaminess.  Read More
spicy vegetarian chili
vegetarian chilithis is a hearty and robust chili. the onions and bell peppers add great texture and the touch of sweetness needed to balance out the big flavors from the spices. the fire roasted crushed tomatoes add that smoky flavor that screams chili. the V8 seems strange but trust me - it is perfect for the recipe. the black beans, pasta and crumbles add a ton of protein to make this a complete meal you feel good about eating. i know it is not traditional to add pasta to chili - but i love it. i would recommend adjusting the spices to your palette. i am spice lover so feel free to adjust down if you are not. Read More
pastabaked ziti
every time i make this i think of the soprano's. i wonder what carmela's is like? Read More
bell pepper and olive pasta
bell pepper and olive pastathis bell pepper and olive pasta is now one of our favorites. the briny olives combined with the peppers and onions is crazy good. the best part of this recipe is it is flexible. you really could use whatever vegetables float your boat - it is all about the olives in my opinion. as long as that briny flavor from the olives is there it will be amazing. Read More
farfalle with broccoli and feta
farfalle with broccoli  and fetathis farfalle with broccoli and feta is a go-to dinner for us. the flavors are bold and it is very doable for a weeknight. the broccoli gives you the feel good part - tastes good and is good for you - and the feta plays incredibly well with the broccoli. it gives it that quick punch of flavor that would be sorely missing from this dish if it were omitted. the garlic and the lemon come together to make a very familiar set of flavors i love. all in all - easy and flavorful. Read More
mushroom ravioli with creamy sundried tomato sauce
mushroom ravioli with creamy sundried tomato saucei also use this sauce with penne - it makes for a really yummy "adult mac and cheese. Read More
orzo with roasted vegetables
orzo with roasted vegetablesthis is another lovely pasta dish adpated from the great one (ina garten). the orzo goes nicely with the roasted vegetables - it is small enough to not get in the way of the vegetables - but does a nice job of providing some substance to the dish. the bright lemon vinaigrette pulls the vegetables and orzo together. i totally forgot the pine nuts but the feta was a nice bite on top of the dish.
pasta and vegetables with warm lemon vinaigrette
oh my - talk about an improvement to pasta salad. the warm vinaigrette with the garlic, mustard and lemon juice - this is an instant hit in our house. i thought of calling it "clean out the produce drawer pasta" because you could really use any vegetables that you like raw. the best part about it - besides the taste - is it is so quick to make. Read More
penne with 5 cheeses
this pasta dish of Ina's is to die for. it is a creamy and cheesy adult style macaroni and cheese with the volume turned up. the combination of all the cheeses give it an incredible flavor - and whatever you do - DO NOT skip the smoked mozzarella.
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penne with zucchini in a lemon parmesan cream sauce
penne with zucchini in a lemon parmesan cream saucethis pasta is definitely one of those quick and easy dishes. it really does come together with very little prep and takes only a bit longer than it takes you to cook the pasta. the zucchini matches up well with the lemon and parmesan cream sauce. the brightness from the lemon helps the cream sauce to not feel to heavy and the parmesan - well who doesn't love a good cheese sauce. a good sprinkling of black pepper helps to give it a nice bite. Read More
quick slow roasted tomato sauce
slow roasted tomato sauceslow roasting the tomatoes helps to develop the sugars in the tomatoes and pulls all the juices to the surface. it is the ideal way to treat less than wonderful tomatoes. i decided to use the tomatoes for a simple tomato sauce for spaghetti. everything about this recipe is simple and it produces big flavor. Read More
roasted tomato and olive couscous
roasted tomato and olive couscousthe flavors in this recipe are incredible. roasting brings out the best in the tomatoes, the vinegary bite of the olives matches perfectly with the tomatoes. i really like pearl (or Israeli) couscous. i am not a fan of the regular couscous - i think it disappears in a dish. the pearl sized holds up well against other ingredients. the tomato vinaigrette is bright and is a interesting use of the tomatoes. it helps get that tomato flavor into the couscous. Read More
roasted vegetable ragu
roasting the vegetables gives them the "heartiness" they needed to stand up in this ragu. baking the sauce after roasting the vegetables gave it a great depth of flavor - rather than it tasting like a marinara with some vegetables added. the vegetables and the sauce baked together and gave it that slow cooked taste i so miss in a meat sauce. i think even meat eaters would agree that this is an excellent substitution. Read More
spaghetti sauce
spaghetti sauce this spaghetti sauce is a balance of heat and bite. the red pepper flakes give it the heat while the red wine and vinegar give it the right amount of bite. the turning point in spaghetti sauce for me was the fire roasted tomatoes. they give this sauce an amazing smoky depth of flavor that cannot be achieved with regular tomatoes. i make this sauce with the meatless crumbles and without. it is excellent either way. serve this sauce over good ole fashioned spaghetti noodles. Read More
spaghetti with grilled tomatoes and lemon
spaghetti with grilled tomatoes and lemoni love the flavor of the grill. the smoky slow heat does magical things to vegetables. i often throw tomatoes on the grill just to slightly soften them and impart that smoky flavor. i also grill citrus to squirt over vegetable and pasta dishes. the heat makes the citrus swell with their juice and the grill marks are just to darn beautiful. Read More
stuffed shells
stuffed shellsi got this recipe from a friend and made a couple tweaks to make it veggie. it takes some time to stuff the shells, but it is so worth it. and it keeps well in the fridge as leftovers. Read More
tortellini pasta salad with tomatoes olives mozzarella and carrots
tortellini pasta salad with tomatoes olives mozzarella and carrotsi make all different kinds of pasta salad - the variations are endless really. the one constant is the warm lemon vinaigrette. it is the best thing since sliced bread - no joke. something magical happens to a vinaigrette when warmed. all the flavors are a bit more available and bright. it seems to penetrate the tomatoes, carrot, olives, mozzarella and pasta more than a cold vinaigrette. don't believe me - TRY IT! you will not be disappointed. Read More
tortellini salad with cranberries pecans and feta
tortellini salad with cranberries pecans and fetathis salad is the perfect early fall dinner. i am still craving the light dinners of summer but i am ready for the comforting flavors of fall. the rich buttery pecans give a wonderful crunch, the cranberries have just the right tartness, the creamy sharp feta is an indulgence and this balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favorites. i use white balsamic vinegar in addition to the regular balsamic because i think it adds a bright flavor. the cheese filled tortellini is the perfect foundation for all these flavors.

you need to do me one favor if you make this salad - be sure to get a bit of everything on your fork with each bite - the combination of all the ingredients is mind blowing! Read More
vodka penne - penne alla vodka
vodka penne / penne alla vodkathis is a perfect dish for entertaining. it is not that involved and doesn't create a huge mess. and besides - who doesn't love pasta! i usually serve it with some good crusty bread and a salad of mixed greens with a red wine vinaigrette.

the smoky flavor that the vodka gives to the sauce is a delight. it takes an otherwise boring marinara sauce and brings it to the next level. lots of garlic and other spices make it intensely flavorful. the cream and the butter make the sauce so silky and gives it some structure. taking the pasta out of the water before it is all the way cooked and letting it finish in the sauce really lets the sauce penetrate the noodles. one of the best parts - it is even better than the next day. Read More
sidesasparagus and peas
asparagus and peasi love asparagus and peas. they taste good and are so easy to make. this side got some heat from red pepper flakes. Read More
mustard roasted potatoes
mustard roasted potatoesthese potatoes are near perfect. the tanginess of the mustard and the bite of the garlic go so well together. the result is a vivid mustard flavor on the crispy roasted potatoes. it is a match made in food heaven. Read More
parmesan crash potatoes
parmesan crash potatoesthese potatoes are my new favorite way to make potatoes. by boiling them on the stove and then "crashing" and baking them with olive oil creates an incredibly crispy crust on the outside. the parmesan adds that buttery & nutty flavor that puts this preparation of potatoes at the top of my list.
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parmesan roasted asparagus
parmesan roasted asparagusi am a bit surprised that i haven't posted this recipe before today. this is my go - to vegetable side dish. i love asparagus and when i start seeing the good asparagus at the market in the spring i get giddy. these parmesan roasted asparagus take minutes to prepare and the oven does the rest of the work for you. all you need is some olive oil, salt & pepper to go to work with the asparagus in the oven. you could stop there and they would be incredible but add some parmesan and lemon - look out. it really is a combination of flavors you will go back to time and time again. Read More
the best buttermilk mashed potatoes
the best buttermilk mashed potatoesthese mashed potatoes are perfect because you can make them how you like them. i prefer mine not too wet and a bit chunky with lots of black pepper. you can adjust the amount of whole milk, butter and buttermilk to get the consistency you love. you could even mash in some parmesan, roasted garlic or lemon zest. the great one sends her potatoes through a food mill but i use an old fashioned regular potato masher.  Read More
soup and saladcaesar salad with hard-boiled eggs
caesar salad with hard-boiled eggswe wanted a light dinner...this caesar salad fits the bill. Read More
grapefruit avocado and kumquat salad
grapefruit avocado and kumquat saladi am missing summer so for dinner i tried to recreate summer. i grabbed a couple texas ruby red grapefruit and limes. then i saw kumquats. i have had them once before and their color reminds me of the sun - so they were gonna be part of this. finally i got a couple avocados and mixed greens and went home to create my version of summer on a plate.
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mixed greens salad with strawberries and candied almonds
mixed greens salad with strawberries and candied almondsthis salad has everything - the sweet strawberries play very well with the acidic vinaigrette. the candied almonds provide the perfect crunch to make this salad one of my favorites. it is simple and quick and utterly wonderful. Read More
potato leek soup
potato leek soupwhen i bought the ingredients for this potato leek soup it was cold out. (typical minnesota) today was beautiful and warm so it was a little weird eating warm soup, but it was still delicious. Read More
roasted potato leek soup
roasted potato leek soupthe roasting of the potatoes and leeks adds a depth of flavor that is incredible. i added garlic to the recipe because potatoes and garlic go together in my world. when i first read the recipe the arugula puzzled me a bit but it adds a peppery flavor that is well matched with the soup. the creme fraiche adds a creamy quality to the soup that makes it like velvet. ina recommends serving it with crispy shallots and they are incredible. i did not believe that they would really take 40 minutes to make, but they really do. i have served it with and without them - both ways are wonderful. Read More
spicy vegetable barley soup
spicy vegetable barley soupthis soup is probably my most requested meal - it is near perfect. there are a couple secrets that make this soup so amazing...paprika, sundried tomato paste, and the lemon juice at the end. this is not your typical boring vegetable soup .... it is the best vegetable soup you will ever eat. i could eat it everyday! i have served it for dinner with a salad, or alone for lunch. Read More
vegetable minestrone
vegetable minestronei have decided it is about time that i get over my fear of beans. i have never been a fan of the texture - but i figured it is time to get over it. i knew i wanted to start with cannellini beans because i knew they were a creamier texture that most.

this minestrone was hearty and delicious.
warm tomato salad
warm tomato saladi made this salad with the vegetable tart. they were perfect together...it was like a spa meal. its light, refreshing and different with the warm tomatoes. Read More

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